Here’s the first beer ever named by a neural network

AI is setting you up with a pint of ‘The Fine Stranger’

A Michigan-based brewing company, Old Nation, couldn’t find a name for its latest double dry hopped saison, with only a limited supply of boozy puns left – so they turned to AI for help in naming its beers.

A computer system was programmed with keywords relating to beer and IPA: Juicy, haze, New England, citra, spicy and clove to name a few, by Janelle Shane, a trainer for Neural Networks. Travis Fritts and Matt Gwynn of Old Nation weren't threatened by the AI technology taking their jobs, but were excited by what the capability of the network. However, “the overriding emotion was just bewilderment” Fritts says. 

“What the beer is called is not our main focus, but it’s the actual beer in the can that's important. We, on the other hand, can spend our time giggling at the obviously best name the computer came up with: A Shit Farmhouse Ale,” Fritts told Gizmodo.

It came up with some oddly unappetising titles too that went straight into the reject bin, like A Shit Farmhouse Ale, Stick Lake and Summer Death.

In the end, the AI program landed on the name The Fine Stranger for the drink described as a “strong, peppery, fruity Belgian Saison yeast strain with the low-bitterness/high-flavour hop goodness of the New England style.”

The last year has seen the limits of AI grow exponentially: from the ill-fated Twitter bot Tay who turned from a sweet teen into a Nazi-lover, to weird existential meme-making and tech giant Elon Musk’s assertion that it would destroy us all in the future. For now, enjoy your bot-named beer.